Obituary of SERGE RADCHUK
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Serge Radchuk - husband, father (‘Tato’/’Daddy’) and grandfather (‘Didi’). He leaves to mourn his wife Leona, daughters Julie and Natalie, granddaughters Kristen and Lauren and their father Jim Wycoff.
Serge was born near the town of Berezovychi in the province of Volyn’, Western Ukraine. He was the only child of Chariton and Vera Radchuk.
During his childhood Dad enjoyed many facets associated with living on a farm, including caring for animals, gathering fresh eggs, tending to a large garden and exploring the family’s large fruit laden orchard.
His early schooling took place in Poland due to the continuously changing borders of Western Ukraine.
During World War 2, the family fled their beloved homeland, leaving behind all of their possessions. Their difficult journey took them through East Prussia and into Germany where they stayed in a displaced persons’ camp.
In 1947, Dad’s Canadian family, the Evaschenkos, began the lengthy sponsorship process to bring him to Canada. His parents ultimately made the difficult decision to sign the consent form and send their only son across the Atlantic Ocean. Our Dad arrived by train in Saskatchewan on a bitterly cold Christmas Eve. When his uncle picked him up he noticed the light spring jacket Dad was wearing and immediately drove him by sleigh to the local hardware store to purchase a parka.
Our Dad completed high school in Benito Manitoba, at which point he was able to finally have his parents join him in Canada. The family then relocated to Winnipeg.
One day in 1950, Serge was waiting at a street car stand on Selkirk Avenue while on his way to sing at a concert. It was there that he met a lovely young woman named Leona. She happened to be going to the very same concert. Shortly after, they began dating and were married in October of 1957.
Education was very important to our Dad, and after enrolling in the Faculty of Arts, he was accepted into what was then known as the Manitoba Law School. In 1954, Dad received his Bachelor’s Degree in Law and joined the Karasevich Law Firm before branching out on his own. He acquired his Master’s Degree in Law in 1958 and his Doctorate Degree in Law in 1977 in Munich, Germany. In 1980, our father was appointed to Queen’s Counsel.
Dad enjoyed running his own private law firm in downtown Winnipeg. After many years, and upon our mother’s urging, he moved his practice to his home. He always practiced law fairly and ethically, often accepting food and beverages from clients who were not able to pay him. He successfully practiced law for over 60 years and proudly did so in five languages – English, Ukrainian, German, Polish and Russian. Dad often stated that languages saved his life, especially during World War 2, where he was able to act as an interpreter. Our Tato retired from law well into his 80’s but still retained his Notary Public title until his recent hospitalization.
Our Dad’s faith played a very significant role throughout his life. He was an active member of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Winnipeg, having served as past president of the church executive. He served as a member of the Consistory Board and Presidium of the UOCC, and was also a member of the Consistory building committee.
Singing was one of Tato’s passions and before he became a longstanding member of his parish choir, he sang in the Bohonos Male Chorus and participated in various radio programs during his early adulthood in Saskatchewan.
Dad was active in many community organizations and was the recipient of various awards, medals and recognitions throughout his life. He proudly and passionately advocated the Ukrainian culture and became a leader for change as he promoted multiculturalism in Canada.
Our Dad was fiercely proud of being a Ukrainian in Canada and was grateful for all of the opportunities Canada offered. He even published his memoirs with the title, “I Chose Canada”. One of his favorite mantras was: “you get out of it what you put into it”, and Dad definitely took that to task. Some noteworthy accomplishments included: President of the Research Institute of Volyn’; National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress; President of the Ukrainian Fraternal Life Insurance Society of Canada; President of the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko; President of Carpathia Credit Union; President and Honorary Life Member of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg; member of the Board of Directors for the Manitoba Heart and Stroke Foundation; member of the Khartum Shrine Temple; Liberal Candidate in the Winnipeg North constituency in the Federal Election (1972); recipient of the Order of Canada (1985); honorary Doctorate Degree from the state University of Volyn’; recipient of the Bulava Award for outstanding leadership in the Ukrainian community; the 150 Award from the Manitoba Provincial Council for his contribution to preserving and continuing development of the Ukrainian Canadian community in Manitoba.
Tato was often asked to deliver speeches or act as Master of Ceremonies for events, banquets and weddings. He knew how to command a room. When Serge spoke, people listened. Typically, he would put people at ease and begin with a joke. His speeches were usually practiced in front of our mother first, and she often had to give her seal of approval for joke appropriateness.
When Dad and Mom had some free time, they enjoyed spending part of their winters in Florida and Arizona, however, Dad’s favorite place was in his own backyard, which he referred to as “the best place in town”. There he enjoyed swimming in his pool and watching his dog “Rex” chase birds, squirrels and rabbits. Serge travelled throughout Canada and the USA for official purposes, but in 1995, he returned to Ukraine after 51 years to visit his extended family and see his original homestead.
Our Tato loved his Cadillacs and he loved his clothes. He would often be seen wearing a colorful suit and tie, hat and matching shoes, whistling while he walked.
Our Dad lived a full and interesting life. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Vichnaya Pamyat’ – Memory Eternal
A private family funeral service and interment has already taken place.
Donations may be made to the following: Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, 1175 Main St. R2W 3S4; Taras Shevchenko Foundation, 202-952 Main St. R2W 3P4; Holy Family Nursing Home c/o Lubov SSMI Foundation Inc. 1085 Main St. R2W 3S1; Winnipeg Humane Society, 45 Hurst Way R3T 0R3.
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